Today many folks are celebrating the feast of St. Martin DePorres. He was one of the earliest defenders of human dignity. Human dignity is something that can’t be taken away. Catholic Social Teaching states that each and every person has value, are worthy of great respect and must be free from slavery, manipulation and exploitation.
One can say that St. Martin DePorres understood the tenets of the following scripture
God created man and woman in his image.
The English word dignity comes from the Latin word, dignitas, which means “worthiness.” Dignity implies that each person is worthy of honor and respect for who they are, not just for what they can do. In other words, human dignity cannot be earned and cannot be taken away. It’s an inalienable gift given to us by God, and every other good thing in life depends on the safeguarding of our fundamental dignity. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts it, “recognition of the inherent dignity…of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
The Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes says:
There must be made available to all people everything necessary for leading a life truly human, such as food, clothing, and shelter; the right to choose a state of life freely and to found a family, the right to education, to employment, to a good reputation, to respect, to appropriate information, to activity in accord with the upright norm of one’s own conscience, to protection of privacy and rightful freedom even in matters religious.”
We each have an obligation to defend those in our world who cannot defend themselves. If we do not we challenge the world’s treatment of human life, we fail. This week as we set out to start a new, think of those around you. See how you can improve the lives of those in your life.
The Good Shepherd wants us to be great in our own pens.
Take a moment to watch this video.